Captive minds: The function and agency of Eastern Europe in International Security Studies

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This article unpacks the ways Eastern Europe (broadly conceived) has featured as a space, trope, and scholarly origin in major International Security Studies (ISS) and International Relations (IR) journals over the past three decades. A framing and authorship analysis in 18 disciplinary journals between 1991 and 2019 demonstrates how the region has been instrumental for the ISS subfield as an exemplary student of the Western theory and practice of IR. Eastern Europe has served as a symbolic space for exercising the civilising mission of the West and testing the related theories (security community building, democratisation, modernisation, Europeanisation, norm diffusion) in practice. The relative dearth of East European voices in ISS and leading IR theory journals speaks volumes about the politics of knowledge production and the analytical economy of the field. The positionality of East European ‘captive minds’ complicates ‘worlding’ IR from the region. The East European subalterns are largely enfolded in the definitive discourses of the field, and their power through disciplinary journals remains marginal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)866-889
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - captive minds, Eastern Europe, International Security Studies, knowledge production, 'worlding' IR

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